Jeff and Brandi Baldwin: Where Are TRF’s Ex-GM and His Wife Now?

As HBO’s documentary series ‘Ren Faire’ depicts, Jeffrey “Jeff” Baldwin is one of the two names “King” George Coulam considered as his potential successor. As an integral part of the Texas Renaissance Festival for several decades, Jeff and his wife Brandi believed that he was a “natural successor” who deserved the throne of the festival’s founder more than his main rival, Louie Migliaccio. When George eventually considered Louie’s offer, the couple’s hearts were broken. However, it doesn’t mean that the actor cut his ties with George and the TRF. Irrespective of the drama that unfolded regarding the succession, Jeff remains an unavoidable part of the renowned festival!

Who Are Jeff and Brandi Baldwin?

Jeff Baldwin became a part of the Texas Renaissance Festival at the age of sixteen as a face painter. The experience was a stepping stone for him. He started attending the University of Houston in 1981 and graduated from the institution in 1983 with a degree in theater. Gradually, Jeff rose through the ranks to become the entertainment coordinator at the TRF. His duties at the time included managing around five hundred actors hired by the festival and preparing them for the show with the help of rehearsals that spanned seven weekends. He also started living in Todd Mission, the city that was incorporated as the result of the efforts of George Coulam, among others.

Jeff also went on to serve a role in the city council of Todd Mission for a while under George, who is the first and only mayor of the place. Jeff has always credited George as the influential factor behind his life. “I like to think of him [George] as Willy Wonka from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He’s given a few of us lucky ones those golden tickets to come here and live,” he told Texas Monthly. It is an understatement to say the TRF changed Jeff’s life. He not only met his wife Brandi but also married her during the festival.

Brandi also has a background in theater. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Theater Arts and Acting from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. When Jeff became the entertainment director of the TRF, she became the assistant entertainment director as well. Brandi also started working for Alight Solutions in 2006, initially as a customer service representative.

Regardless of the several duties Jeff has during and after the festival’s editions, he can be seen in costumes, celebrating like a guest. “I love TRF. I love my job. I love our participants and our patrons. I love the shows, the characters, the food, the shopping, and the games. I love wearing a costume and pretending to be someone else from some other place. I love the world we have created together,” he wrote in the TRF blog.

Jeff and Brandi Baldwin Remain Attached to the TRF

Jeff Baldwin’s life turned around when he was appointed as the general manager of the Texas Renaissance Festival in 2021. “I feel like the General Manager position is a natural fit for me. I think I have actually spent more of my life on the festival grounds than anywhere else, and I can’t wait to lead us to more success,” he said in a statement after his appointment. Jeff’s selection as the general manager was not a surprise, especially considering his track record as the festival’s performance director and lead graphic artist. His reign as the general manager, however, was affected by George Coulam’s decision to consider selling the festival. As ‘Ren Faire’ depicts, Brandi served as the entertainment director of the festival when her husband was the general manager.

George’s efforts to sell the festival paved the way for the birth of tensions within the company. These tensions were concluded, at least temporarily, in January 2023, when the TRF announced that the “King” had stopped considering offers to sell the festival, putting a stop to George’s plans to find his successor. The succession saga ended with the founder appointing himself as the head of the company, replacing Jeff. Since then, the latter has been working in the TRF as the entertainment director, the job he used to do before becoming the general manager in 2021.

As the TRF’s entertainment director, Jeff is expected to be engaged in the preparations for the 50th-anniversary edition of the festival, which is scheduled to take place in Todd Mission between October and December of this year. We may also see him in a brand new attire/character during the festival days. “I am, and always will be, an actor. That is what drew me to the festival as a boy, and it is still a large part of me as an artist. I enjoy the creation of a character, either in the controlled environment of a theater or the ‘anything goes’ environment of the guerilla theater of a renaissance festival,” he added about remaining a performer irrespective of his superior roles.

Jeff’s responsibilities as the entertainment director include producing and directing, designing and constructing, and budgeting and marketing. He is also involved in the production of print media items as the lead graphic artist. By the time Jeff was appointed as the entertainment director, Brandi had lost her job. In May 2023, she left Alight Solutions as the customer care client manager. Since then, she has been a part of Empyrean as the client services manager. It is unknown whether Brandi is currently an employee of the TRF in any capacity, but she hasn’t stopped attending the festivals.

In addition to his duties in the TRF, Jeff also serves as a designer, director, actor, and one of the board members of Owen Theatre, located in Conroe, Texas. He has even produced plays for the establishment with Brandi. For her performance as Mama Rose in Jeff’s production of Jule Styne, Stephen Sondheim, and Arthur Laurents’ ‘Gypsy,’ Brandi received a Montie Award nomination. The husband and wife are settled in Navasota, Texas. While not working, Jeff and Brandi can be found watching the baseball team, Houston Astros, at Minute Maid Park.

Jeff and Brandi have a pet cat named Nanner. The couple had to bid adieu to Brandi’s mother, Faith Carter Wilsher, following her demise in April. Earlier this year, Jeff and Brandi vacationed at Kralendijk, the capital of the Dutch island of Bonaire in the Caribbean Sea. They also visited the Kingdom of the Netherlands’ Aruba. Jeff and Brandi had attended the documentary series’ world premiere at the South by Southwest Film Festival in March as well.

Read More: Ren Faire: True Stories Behind the HBO Show